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Overview


Life, the universe and everything

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Overview


Life, the universe and everything

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine - Sir Arthur Eddington

 

If you think you understand quantum physics, you just haven’t thought about it enough yet - Andy Fletcher

 
 
 
 

The answer is not, after all, 42. Assumptions made about the nature of the universe in Isaac Newton's day continue to drive not only today's methodology of scientific inquiry but the direction and ultimately the interpretation of, as Douglas Adams called it, Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Since 1991, Andy Fletcher has been giving talks and presentations in public (state) schools in the US, the UK, Canada and Costa Rica, in private and international schools around the globe, nearly 260 schools in 42 countries altogether, and in a host of other venues - educational conferences, religious groups, universities, retreats, and so on. Interactive, discussion-oriented, multi-media presentations challenge the brightest of students to re-examine the base points of scientific inquiry:

The Infinite Universe -- It was a vital ingredient to nature and physics, something that Einstein himself refused to abandon though it was his own theories that put an end, and a beginning, to Infinity...

Determinism -- The brilliant French mathematician La Place claimed that given the speed and location of every particle, he could predict the rest of history. But curiosity could neither kill nor not kill Schroedinger's Cat..

Mechanism -- Does the universe run like clockwork? Are humans nothing more than complicated machines? The lowly butterfly and its effect made Chaos out of Order...

Reductionism -- Are we nothing more than the meaningless sum of random parts? Things turn out to be a bit more Complex than that as we get Order out of Chaos...

At home in the universe -- Does the universe exist to produce mankind? Do we "observe" it into being, the very act of observation that which keeps the universe moving along? Why did Einstein wander around the yards of Princeton wondering why the moon wasn't smeared all over the sky?

Take your group on a "journey to the center of the galaxy to go windsurfing with dear old dad", as it was put in the film Contact.

Relativity. Space-time dilation. The Singularity and what observed it into Big Bang.

Quantum Mechanics. Schroedinger's Cat, quantum tunneling, the Bose-Einstein Condensate, and what really happens to a quantum tree when it falls in a quantum forest.

Jurassic Chaos, the butterfly effect, the Challenger Space Shuttle, and Hurricane Katrina.

Fractals and the doorway into Complexity via Zombie Ants, Disco Zombie Snails, and the Blister Beetle.

Finally, the Anthropic Principle and Freeman Dysan's claim that "in some sense, the universe must have known we were coming."

You may never be the same.

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Table of Contents


Table of contents

Table of Contents


Table of contents

Scroll down through each page

Home Page - Overview, TOC, Schedule, Topics and Excellent Links

Listen - Relativity, Quantum Weirdness, Chaos, Complexity, a Brief History of the Universe, Science Links, Bibliography

Voices - What the Scientists Say

People - Youth Endorsements, Adult Endorsements

Places - Schools etc. where the lectures have been given, Schedules from Previous Years

Theory of Knowledge - History of the Seminars, Biographical Sketch of Andy Fletcher

How to Donate - How to Donate (Duh)

Contact - Contact Information (duh)

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Schedule 2017-2018


schedule 2017-2018

Schedule 2017-2018


schedule 2017-2018

Where We'll Be and When We'll Be There

We're happy to speak for anyone, anywhere. Possible hosts (most of which we have done) would be IB high schools, international schools, private schools, regular public and state or national high schools, schools with an areligious, irreligious, or religious base (Christian/Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.), churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, universities, colleges and junior or community colleges, educational or religious conferences, retreats or camps, civic groups, private home groups, or any type of conference or meeting. Just ask.

 

2017

 

Sept 8 - Sevenoaks School, Kent UK

Sept 11 - ACS Hillingdon UK

Sept 12 - Bryanston College, Blandford Forum, Dorset UK

Sept 13 - Truro College, UK

Sept 14 - Penwith College (TOK Conference host), St. Ives School, Cape Cornwall School, Humphry Davy School, Penzance UK

Sept 15-19 - England

Sept 21, 28, Oct 5 - Pueblo East High School, CO, USA

Sept 25-7 - Great Oak HS, Temecula CA USA

Oct 3 - Poudre HS, Fort Collins CO USA

Oct 12 - IS Bern Switzerland

Oct 10-16 - Switzerland

Oct 24-27 - Portland, OR USA

Dec 13-14 - JW North HS, Riverside, CA USA

Dec 3 - Jives Coffee Shop, Colorado Springs CO

2018

Jan 7, 14, 21, 28 - Colorado Springs CO

Feb 9-15 - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

 

Working on it: Exeter College UK, I-Shou IS Taiwan, St. George's BIS Rome, Aiglon College/Collège Alpin Beau Soleil Villars Switzerland, Ecole Internationale de Geneve La Chataigneraie campus, TASIS Lugano Switzerland, Zurich International School.

 

 
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Topics List


What we can do for you

Topics List


What we can do for you

Topics List

 
 
 
 
 
 

The main presentation can consist of any or all of the topics below. Given time, it’s best to do all nine, as they link together in a continuum. Each will also stand on its own without the others. Expanded descriptions are down below:

1. The Universe is much stranger than you can imagine - Isaac Newton and why he was only mostly right

2. Albert Einstein - Special Relativity, Space, Time and Weirdness

3. Albert Einstein - General Relativity, Black Holes, Big Bang, and More Weirdness

4. Albert Einstein - Quantum Theory and the Weirdest Weirdness of All

5. Chaos Theory - Things Falling Apart - Why Disasters Happen and Why You Can't Do Anything About it

6. Chaos Theory - Fractals - At the Edge of Chaos, Beauty, Elegance and Simplicity. Sort of.

7. Complexity Theory - Things Getting Better in a Most Disconcerting Way

8. A Brief History of the Universe - From the Beginning of Time to Just a Tiny Nanosecond Ago

9. What the Scientists Think About It All - The Strong Anthropic Principle vs. The Multiverse

We also offer separate but related presentations on:

1. The Evolving State of Evolution

2. Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design

3. There’s Nothing There, but Matter Matters

And entirely unrelated presentations on:

  1. Third Culture Kids
  2. Cultural Values
  3. Crossing Cultures
  4. Surviving Transition

Expanded Descriptions of the 9 topics of Life, the Universe and Everything

1. The Universe is much stranger than you can imagine - Isaac Newton and why he was only mostly right

Isaac Newton had one of history's most intelligent minds, but like all scientists, he only knew what was known at the time; thus many of his brilliant discoveries were only mostly true, and there was one fundamental assumption about the universe which was completely wrong. Intriguingly, we in the 21st century are still bound up in a Newtonian view of the way things work, and it is only mostly true, except where it is completely false. As Eddington said, the universe is not only stranger than you imagine, it is stranger than you can imagine.

2. Albert Einstein - Special Relativity, Space, Time and Weirdness

One of the fundamental assumptions about the way the universe worked was that the speed of light was a variable and changed depending on perspective. Albert Einstein, with his slight disdain for authority, began his assault on our fundamental assumptions with light, and changed the way we think about everything.

3. Albert Einstein - General Relativity, Black Holes, Big Bang, and More Weirdness

Newton's theory of planetary motion worked brilliantly at predicting where the planets would be at any point in time, except for Mercury. Something was wrong with Mercury. When Einstein found the problem and fixed it with General Relativity, it turned into the one of the most challenging and disturbing moments in the history of science and fundamentally changed our understanding of the entire universe. Even Einstein didn't like what he'd discovered and he refused, for awhile, to believe it.

4. Albert Einstein - Quantum Theory and the Weirdest Weirdness of All

If you thought Relativity was strange, it doesn't even come close to the strangeness of Quantum Mechanics (QM). QM describes the way everything in the universe works even better than Relativity, it's always right, it's never wrong, it's the most important science known to man, and it is so totally bizarre that nobody likes it and everybody wishes it would go away. The universe is truly nothing like you think it is. Einstein didn't like this, either, and it was mostly his fault.

5. Chaos Theory - Things Falling Apart - Why Disasters Happen and Why You Can't Do Anything About it

The Newtonian universe is entirely predictable. However, the real universe is only mostly and sometimes predictable. The places where we can't predict what's going to happen turn out to be the places where the universe is at its most creative and destructive.

6. Chaos Theory - Fractals - At the Edge of Chaos, Beauty, Elegance and Simplicity. Sort of.

Ah, fractals. Some of the most beautiful and complicated things man has ever discovered, and as it happens, the universe is a fractalated sort of place. There is a language that the universe speaks, and fractals start to tell us about that language. It is subtle, elegant, gorgeous, both mysterious and mysteriously understandable. Fractals take us into a universe that is sublimely well-ordered.

7. Complexity Theory - Things Getting Better in a Most Disconcerting Way

Speaking of sublime order, Complexity Theory is not nearly as complex as it sounds. The universe is a place that solves problems in the most subtle, elegant, gorgeous and sublime sort of ways. From the universe itself to bacteria, parasites, and even cells, there is elegant order that emerges in mysterious ways in the most unexpected of places.

8. A Brief History of the Universe - From the Beginning of Time to Just a Tiny Nanosecond Ago, starring the Higgs Boson

Now that we know all of this, what does it tell us about the way the universe appeared? We know more about the tiny fractions of the first second than we know about the deep oceans, but the answers we gain only create more and more fascinating questions. It is indeed an amazing place, our universe.

9. What the Scientists Think About It All - The Strong Anthropic Principle vs. The Multiverse

So all of these bright guys, these scientists, they've discovered all of this amazing science - so why don't they like it, and why are they desperately struggling to fix it, to find some other answer to it all that they like better? The evidence takes them places they don't want to go, and so they go places for which there is no, and never will be, any evidence. It is the most fascinating thing.

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Excellent Links


Excellent Links

Excellent Links


Excellent Links

Click for LUE Youtube -  Session 2

Click for Facebook page 

Click book store to see books and eBooks on sale

Click here for information on hosting the talks for your audience 

Click here for the science blog

Click here for blog interview 

For the DVD series or audiobook, email us directly at andyfletch42@gmail.com.